The research reported here derives from a recently completed questionnaire survey of the UK mechanical engineering industry and a series of follow‐up case studies. The case studies investigated the product design strategies adopted by firms for achieving competitive edge. It was found that companies were consolidating their product ranges and increasing the use of bought‐out components. There had thus been a shift from internal manufacturing (hierarchy) to bought‐out manufacturing (market). This was complemented by the changes, over the last few years, in the production system. That is, the adoption of manufacturing, or FMS, cells. Here, companies were feeding more components through these machining cells rather than using other, more expensive, manufacturing techniques, such as die casting. Thus, product design has had to match these changes in manufacturing strategy. Increased competition from Japan had also led companies to reduce lead times on product introduction. The research identifies the product design strategies the firms had adopted to achieve competitive edge. These were the better management of the product design process through project teams or project management. The use of design reviews for tailoring designs for efficient manufacture and early consideration of manufacturability. The full utilization of prototypes to eliminate production difficulties. These management factors and the ability to use CAD/CAM‐FMS technology enabled the companies to maintain competitive edge.
Riedel, J.C.K.H., Lewis, J. and Pawar, K. (1992), "Make or Buy: The Strategic Product Design Choice", Integrated Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 9-14. https://doi.org/10.1108/09576069210011715
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